Tag Archives: evolution

June 15

Your Brain, the Liar

Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Thinking machines, like those portrayed in HBO’s Westworld, use new information from their environment to update their beliefs about the world and take action to further their goals. For all such machines, the success of that process of integrating new input is limited by their hardware, […]

September 15

I’m not crying; it’s just been raining on my face

Humans and turtles have many things in common: we both possess four limbs, two eyes, a shell around our most vulnerable secrets, and tears that are attractive to butterflies and bees [1,2]. Our salt-rich tears, it seems, are much more palatable (and nutritious) to insects than they are to ourselves. Julia butterflies drinking turtle tears […]

June 23

Brain origami

[En español] Origami (from Japanese words “ori” meaning to fold and “kami” meaning paper) is the art of paper folding. A brain and a sheet of office paper don’t seem to have much in common, but when you crumple up the sheet into a paper ball you are holding the key to one of the mysteries […]

August 27

Two brains in one head?: The story of the split-brain phenomenon

The idea that a person is right-brained or left-brained is a myth […] However, the brain is indeed split into a right and left hemisphere, and the two are connected by a structure called the “corpus callosum”, a bundle of nerves through which information can be shared.

May 21

Your Brain on Sex

What happens in the brain during sex? Are gender stereotypes a cultural construct? Or are there true neurological differences in how men and women experience sex—desire, arousal, orgasm?

April 30

Birds, Brains, and Boats: The Harvey Karten Story

“So, what can I do for you?” To be honest, it wasn’t how I expected to find Dr. Harvey J. Karten, neuroscience Professor Emeritus and recent inductee to the National Academy of the Sciences. But when I open the door his office on a bright San Diego afternoon, he is sitting in front of three monitors, hard […]

December 12

The best-laid brains of bugs and men

Five hundred million years ago, Alalcomenaeus and Fuxianhuia scuttled along the ocean floor side-by-side. These creatures, each 1-2 inches in length, were living in a time known as the Cambrian Explosion – the sudden fossilized shift from largely single-celled organisms to animals representing every animal phylum still in existence today. To put this in perspective, […]

August 15

On Being Handed

There’s a box of matches on the table in front of you. You pick up the box, choose a match, and strike it against the side of the box. Which hand did you use to strike the match? Chances are, you used your right hand. According to most estimates, roughly 90% of the human population […]